• Teasin' Season: Top Shred Trailers

    Look what we stumbled upon: more snowboard teasers that will get you itching to ride. This may be because the closer we get to cooler temperatures and fall, the more companies release their snowboard trailers stocked with hammers from the 2011-12 season. This week Bluebird Wax, Absinthe Films, and Torstein Horgmo caught our inner shredder's attention.

    "Horgasm: A Love Story" from Torstein Horgmo: "All I do is try to have as much fun as I can...it's been working out pretty good so far, I think." This statement from Torstein Horgmo describes his two-year project in a nutshell. "Horgasm: A Love Story" follows this mega-pro throughout his chaotic and adventurous career snowboarding and getting into whatever trouble he can find. This guy can pretty much land anything he sets his mind to--at least it appears that way to the general public. Known for his sense of humor and his seriously stylish riding, this film looks to be stocked with the bad-ass snowboarding and entertaining antics that we've come to expect from Torstein.

    "Resonance" from Absinthe Films: With a history of making snowboard films that resonate long after they are released, including "Twel2ve," "NowHere," and "Neverland." Absinthe Films' latest venture, "Resonance," is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. The list of talent is overwhelming, including Nicolas Muller, Gigi Ruf, Wolle Nyvelt, and Bode Merrill being joined by Absinthe newcomers Eric Jackson, Brandon Cocard, Manuel Diaz, Danny Kass, and Scotty Lago. "Resonance" brings forth the identifiable Absinthe vibe of hefty big-mountain riding, deep powder turns, and determination to demonstrate what snowboarding means to them.

    "Alpenhoff," full movie from Bluebird Wax: Last season Willie McMillon tricked a group of heavy hitters to head to Switzerland in the midst of one of the most epic winters the American West had ever seen. They left the deep and steep to head to one of the worst seasons the Swiss had ever seen. Kurt Wastell, Nate Deschennes, Adam Dowell, Chad Otterstrom, Nicolas Muller, Freddie K, and Silvano Z dove into this project not knowing what to expect--and just looking for an adventure in the Alps. This is the full movie that documents what these guys got into abroad--and the lines and hits they ended up scoring. And yes, this film has David Hasselhoff is in it.

    Channels: SnowFilm
  • Stalking Locals: Hiking above Convict Lake

    Every town has its best kept secrets--a hike off the beaten path to an amazing lake with awesome fishing, or a prime local spot with great deals on food and drinks. We all want to be in the know when it comes to these things, but to accomplish this you sometimes have to take the initiative and start stalking some town locals. So we did.

    Mammoth Lakes, California, is a five-hour drive or a one-hour flight north of Los Angeles. Convict Lake, which sits two miles west of Highway 395 just before you arrive into town, is pretty popular because it's easy to get to, offers gorgeous views, and is a legit spot for fishing. But most people don't know about a trail above the lake that leads you on a breathtaking hike in the Sierras.

    The hike's starting point, near Convict Lake parking lot; photo courtesy Fraka

    Name of hike: Convict Creek Hike
    Starting point: Convict Lake Trailhead
    Round trip distance: 12 miles
    Vertical feet: 2,300 feet
    Reasons for hike: No crowds, fantastic landscape and views, fishing, to get out of town for a while
    Best season: June through October (depending on snow conditions)
    Watch out for: Unstable ground, washed out trail sections, slippery and/or falling rocks, bears, coyotes, fast moving clouds (depending on season)
    Stock up on: Water, waterproof outerwear, camera, snacks, fishing gear, lantern or headlamp (for overnighters, because campfires aren't allowed at this elevation)

    I discovered this hike thanks to a crew of locals I know that suggested we camp overnight in the back country seven miles above Convict at Dorothy Lake. Seven miles (and fourteen miles round trip) sounded daunting to me, but I wasn't about to let them know this. It was mid-August, so thunderstorms were rolling in, but we figured they would only produce short, scattered showers as usual.

    We soon reached a washed out bridge that used to rise over Convict Creek. The trail abruptly ends at the mound of cement that's all that's left of the bridge--you can't miss it if you are following the trail or the creek. Most people stop hiking at this point, but my guides let me know we'd be crossing the creek, which is more like heavily flowing falls, using a fallen tree and continuing further. I guess I had no choice--I'd already come that far. After a near fail of crossing where I almost seriously hurt myself, we began the ascent up switchbacks towards the top of the falls.

    The river crossing; photo courtesy Victor Villa

    Although the vertical wasn't extremely steep, this part of the trail can get a little tricky. Over time, the side of the mountain has been degraded by falling rocks and heavy rain, resulting in the path disappearing entirely and forcing us (mostly me) to slowly climb over wet and unstable rocks above the rushing water below. (This hike would have been a little easier if it hadn't been thunderstorm season--go figure.) At this point, we were about four miles in.

    We soon overcome the sketchy, crumbling mountain section and arrive at a massive valley hoarding a lake, a meadow, and winding creeks filled with plenty of fish. This lake isn't Dorothy Lake, which is about a mile farther uphill. But at this point in our hike the rain drops started to pour, and we ultimately decide to set up camp at the back of the valley, where there is some tree coverage, and scratch the hike to Dorothy.

    Scaling the rocky mountain side; photo courtesy Benjamin Roman

    The lake we stumbled upon is Mildred Lake, and we spent the rest of the afternoon fishing, cooking, and trying to dry off. The clouds eventually moved along, and we scored a little bit of sunshine in the lush meadow before the sun set.

    The valley view at Mildred Lake; photo courtesy Fraka

    Lessons learned from this stalking mission? Don't underestimate thunderclouds. Ever. Always be equipped with a waterproof jacket and just because the trail may seem to end, there might be something beyond it. Keep trudging forward and you will be rewarded with an insane camping spot and an amazing view. For the first half of the hike the trail is fairly easy with the back half proving to be the most difficult. But the scenery is incredible the whole time. If you're down to cross a river and scale a mountain, don't hesitate to head above Convict for this adventure.
    Channels: SnowOutdoor
  • Teasin' Season: Shred Trailers of the Week

    The months between the conclusion of winter and the beginning of another are typically loaded with release upon release of snowboard and ski teasers. This mere fact is what gets most riders through snow withdrawals as they live vicariously through the companies and shredders that put these trailers together.

    Still, the bombardment of snow film teasers can get tiresome, so we've decided to gather a handful of the best ones and put them together in various posts. Look at us, being all selfless and what not. The first few are very different from one another yet equally jaw dropping and legit. Without further ado...

    "E-Gal Eye" Teaser from Bald E-Gal Productions
    : Based out of Minnesota, where the kinked rails flow like wine and urban jibbers instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano, Bald E-Gal Productions has produced another film stuffed with burly and stylish urban riding topped off with some smooth pow turns.

    Featuring: Austin Young, Randy Vannurden, Dan Brisse, Shane Ruprecht, Yusaku Horii, Matthew Boudreaux, Cody Beiersdorf, Seth Huot, and Krister Ralles, and including friends Tommy Young, Erik Zimmerman, Ryan Barker, Charlie Fenton, Peter Limberg, Nate Lavik, Drew Poganski, Bjorn Leines, and more. The movie drops Sept. 1.

    "Further" Teaser from Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research: Following the 2010 groundbreaking release of "Deeper," the first film of three that broke countless boundaries within big-mountain riding, TGR and Jeremy Jones have debuted the trailer for their second project, "Further." The crew travels to even more uncharted areas that have major consequences if one step goes wrong. The trailer conveys this truth while showing us insane snowboarding. Jeremy Jones talked about the intensity of their mission: "Primarily because we're trying to get these serious faces, and get them in powder. And there's just no room for error on the calls that you have to make in the mountains. We're on these faces for hours, and if you have one little pocket break on you on the way up, it could kill you. And on the contrary, if we were on our boards riding and a little pocket breaks, it's no big deal. So that just adds this major intensity. Every day."

    Featuring: Jeremy Jones, Terje Haakonsen, Ryland Bell, Lucas Debari, Forrest Shearer, Josh Dirksen, Mitch Toelderer, and Bibi Pekarek.

    "Superheroes of Stoke" Teaser from Matchstick Productions: MSP isn't looking to disappoint with the release of their 2012 feature film, "Superheroes of Stoke," and why would they? They ultimately never do. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first ski film, "Soul Sessions and Epic Impressions," their latest endeavor aims to show the evolution of ski films and the work that goes into them. This teaser plays both angles of where skiing began and where it's landed today. Executive producer Murray Wais explains: "We never knew we'd make it this far, so when we realized that this new film would represent a milestone in MSP's history, we decided to relate where we've been to where we are now. Skiing has always meant everything to us, and we're all living in a really exciting era for the sport. This movie captures that excitement and puts it on display courtesy of the latest filmmaking equipment available." Get ready for powder, hammers, park booters, and some throwback footage that leaves a lasting impression.

    Channels: SnowFilm
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  • Burton U.S. Open to Move to Vail After 31 Years in Vermont

    After three decades in Vermont, the annual Burton U.S. Open will be held in Vail, Colorado, in 2013. Vermont is the birthplace of Burton, where founder Jake Burton began his massive company in his barn. The Green Mountain Sate is also the birthplace of the event, which first took place in 1982, making it the longest-running snowboard contest around today.

    Hopes and visions of growing the event are what sparked this major change, according to sources, and Burton team riders expressed excitement over the possibility. "Burton has always been about progressing the sport and doing what's best for snowboarders, and I truly believe that this move to Vail will make the Open even better for the riders and the thousands of fans who come out to watch," said three-time Olympian Kelly Clark, who was in Vail last week with X-Games gold medalist Mark McMorris and key members of the snowboard industry to celebrate the news.

    The 2013 Burton U.S. Open will take place Feb. 25 through March 3 in the area of Vail known as Golden Peak. To go along with the change of venue, slopestyle will play a larger part in the event, whereas the event had previously revolved around halfpipe. This theme coincides with the continuing progression of the sport in general, with slopestyle officially being added to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the FIS decision to have separate judges for the snowboarding and skiing events.

    Although this is seemingly thrilling and positive news, big change is always a bit frightening. It's almost like saying the U.S. Open of Surfing, which is ongoing right now, is moving from Huntington Beach, California, to Ireland. Well, it's not entirely the same, but you get the point. It's simply going to take some readjusting and accepting.

    Despite the jitters, the community of Vail appears up for the task. "When Burton decided to move the U.S. Open out west after 30 successful years back east, we were delighted that they chose Vail for such an important event," said Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts' mountain division. "We look forward to hosting the world's best snowboarders at Vail. We believe it's a perfect marriage of two great brands in the winter sports industry, and we'll do our utmost to make this a tremendously successful endeavor."

    Here's to hoping that this transformation will be in the best way possible.

    Photo: Jack Affleck
    Channels: Snow
  • Oi Mate! A New Australian Snowboard Series

    The shredders from Down Under have introduced a new web series, Oi Mate!, providing us with an inside look at what the Australian snowboard scene is all about. Apparently, they don't cruise around on kangaroos or rip waves on the coast all day, go figure.

    Oi Mate! features riders Mitch Williams, Matt Sedunary, Charlie Steinbacher, Tom Reilly, Harley Trivic and Mat Galina as they meander around Australia in search of the good terrain and shred spots to create the best winter of all time.

    The first episode is based on their early season riding at Thredbo Resort, Jindabyne, Perisher Resort, and Falls Creek Alpine Resort. Watch as they get down on some park jibs, urban rails, and cruise through the skate park.

    Channels: Snow
    Tags: None
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